Senate debates

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Matters of Public Importance


4:23 pm

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister) Share this | Hansard source

We have done more than any other government to ensure that multinationals pay their fair share of tax. I want to go back to basics. I think low tax is good and lower taxes are even better. I think small government is good and smaller government is even better. I think freedom is good and more freedom is even better. When it comes to the history of the world and of Australia, when the four horsemen of the apocalypse come, which they surely will, we are going to be divided into two camps: those who believe in freedom and those who do not; those who believe in giving people the liberty to look after themselves and those who want to chain them up through the regulations of government.

It is disappointing that we have this modern Labor Party who like spending—throwing away—other people's money like drunken, horny sailors on shore leave, compared with the pious, sensible Liberal-Nationals government, who believe in spending people's money sensibly, in ensuring that taxes are as low as possible and that services are delivered properly. We believe that lower taxes are good, because that gives the man, the woman or the kids earning money the right to decide how they spend their money. But we do believe that multinationals, corporations, should pay their fair share of tax. We believe that society operates better when people pay their fair share of tax. But we also believe that government should manage that money well, because it is not government's money; it is the money of the people who worked for it. It is not the money of Canberra, not the money of this Dubai-esque four-star Hilton that masquerades as our national parliament sometimes; it is the money of the taxpayers of Australia. It is the money of those who are on their tractor at the moment, listening—poor souls!—in Queensland, to this. It is the money of those who are in their trucks driving around Queensland. It is the money of people at home who are trying to have a nap in the winter sun but have been interrupted by this puerile debate that has been brought on by a puerile Labor Party.

Here we have a Labor Party who look at themselves in the mirror and get a bit of a fright and then move on, because they refuse to look at history. They refuse to look at how they have run this country when they have accidentally won an election, when they have got into power. What they do is they destroy the economy. And I will give you a lesson in history, although I am sure you already know this. Let's talk about the Scullin government of 1929 to 1931. They got into power and then drove Australia into not just a recession but a depression. So, we had to get the Tories—my side—the United Australia Party, along with the Country Party, to get into office and clean up Labor's mess. The same thing happened in 1949, when Labor, under the soft velvet hand of the communists, wanted to nationalise Australia's banking industry. It took a reformed Liberal Party of Australia and a Country Party to win the 1949 election and stay in power for a record 23 years and provide this country with record economic growth.

And then we had the Whitlam experiment. Gough Whitlam danced into office like a fairy on steroids and spent money—wanted to borrow money from the Ba'athist party in Iraq because they had run out of money to steal from Australia or borrow from Australia. So they went to Iraq, of all places, and knocked on someone's door and said: 'How about it? Give us the money.' That sums up the Labor Party: let's go to Iraq and borrow money. It took Mr Fraser, in the 1975 election, to get the Liberal Party—and I think by then the National Country Party—to win that election and clean up Australia again.

Then there was Mr Hawke and Mr Keating, who won in 1983. It took them 13 years, because they were slow learners, to drive the Australian economy into dust. We had the recession that we had to have. We had interest rates that went through the roof. And we had Paul Keating, who racked up $96 billion of taxpayers' money as federal government debt. Mr Howard came in with the right attitude, and Mr Fisher and the Liberal-National government, and they cleaned up Labor's mess once again. They made sure they dealt with taxes. They made sure companies paid their fair share. They looked after the families of Australia.

And when Mr Howard was asked by the people of Australia to choose a nice font for his CV, in 2007, and Labor came in under that paradigm of economic responsibility—Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and the other members of that circus—what did they do? They were like drunken kids on a tractor, just having so much fun, hooning around the paddock, spending all these people's money, having a ball of a time. These people had never had a real job. They had gone to university, been a student union activist, got a job in a union office, got a job in a lawyer's office. And we do not talk about what happened to former Prime Minister Gillard and that lawyers' office, do we? The lawyers get involved, because of the lawyers' fight in the lawyers' office.

And they have racked up hundreds of billions of dollars of debt. They once again have taken the Australian economy to the brink. So it is up to the Liberal-National Party—because history repeats itself—to come in and clean up Labor's mess. We have said: 'Righto, we're going to clean up the mess again. Off you go, Labor people. You have trashed the Australian economy. We'll come in here and clean it up.' We're the ones who will make sure we look after the money that comes in from the taxpayer. We on this side of the chamber are the sensible party. We understand that, while there should be taxes, they should be low. Those taxes are there to pay for public services. But we will not spend money that we do not have. We will get this debt down, we will get this deficit down, because we are cleaning up Labor's mess. (Time expired)


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